By Moses Masiye
Barely two weeks after ward councillors in Malawi’s Balaka district took up the task of collecting revenue on behalf of the employed staff, it has been revealed that the council has been losing about 16 percent either through embezzlement or other ways yet to be established.
Speaking to this blogger while collecting bus depot fees, Balaka district council chairperson Patrick Botoman said it is surprising that they are able to collect 16 percent more, raising questions as to where that money goes each day.
Botoman said in the bus depot alone for example, they are able to collect between 40 and 60 thousand kwacha a day, yet the direct employees usually collect about 20 to 40 thousand a day.
“This will help us set targets of expected daily or monthly revenue, which if not met, will translate to incompetence on the part of the direct employees” warned Botoman.
District commissioner for Balaka Rodrick Mateauma said this is a sad development especially when the council is struggling to pay the same direct staff that is not faithful when carrying out its duties.
He said the total wage bill is about 4.5 million Kwacha, yet the council’s average monthly revenue is only about 1.2 million Kwacha.
“It is sad if revenue collectors tamper with resources meant for their own salaries.
“This will force us to consider trimming the number of direct employees currently about a hundred, or embarke on frequent rotation of duty station hence many have overstayed,” said Mateauma.
He said they better keep a workforce that would bring the appropriate revenue and which the council would manage to pay.
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